Charlie Sheen: “I wish I spoke more Spanish, I’m sure I can learn”
The always entertaining and candid Charlie Sheen, 46, is back on TV with his new sitcom Anger Management, a subject he knows something about. Clean and sober, he looks fresh and well dressed in black pants and a blue shirt, his skin and eyes clear. He’s in a relaxed mood as he addresses his life now, his experience with therapy and, of course, anger management. The son of Martin Sheen has roots and family in Spain and a bar in Mexico but he doesn’t speak Spanish fluently. In Los Angeles we talk to the actor who for the first time in his career is credited as Carlos Estevez in Robert’s Rodriguez movie Machete Kills.
Q: So, I would like to start asking you about the show, how much it changed from last year and new cast. I mean that are new.
A: Yeah it’s changed a lot and for the better. We had to go in a different direction with Selma’s character leaving. There is always this thing about to give people what they want but the show we thought would be so different and it was a much smarter character and a much smarter environment, a lot more colours I think, a lot more believable than the other show. When I say the other show that’s Two and a Half, I like to use the title as seldom as possible, but yeah that’s what I am referring to. I think the original concept of “Anger Management” was a little too clean, you know it is about anger and how to manage it and my anger is never managed. There is a door we have behind the set as a souvenir that people sign, that you know the people who work there and there is a big hole that’s been punched through it, that was me, yeah. That was one day I couldn’t get my lines you know. I am the angriest guy in the set and I am the therapist, which is awesome
Q: Or maybe that it was too close to you, I mean is this more like sitcom…
A: It’s a lot closer now, because I am having a ball and so is the character you know. And Bruce Helford who I think is the sharpest brain in show business really saw a lot in me that he can harness into the way he could put on paper and bring the character. And I just think it’s a lot more fun to play, it’s a lot more fun to watch, it’s a lot edgier, a lot more girls, a lot more drinking that never hurts anybody you know, but that’s pretty much, that’s where we are at right now.
Q: What is it like working with your dad?
A: It’s amazing, it’s amazing, the more you realize he is as funny as he is and that’s where I get a lot of my humour it’s from him and my mom making fun of him. He is a consummate professional, he is a guy who is like always on time, always knows his lines He just brings a whole different energy It’s a trip doing scenes with him, because we understand each other’s timing, each other’s short hand, each other’s instinct and it’s great, if I can’t get a line, he will pull me aside and he will give me some trick we have used in the past and vice versa
Q: Yes I heard about you getting your high school diploma?
A: I did, how about that?
A: Thank you, 30 years.
Q: So what’s your motivation?
A: Well one of my kids, they never cared about this stuff, no it was for me, it was a loose end that I never sealed up, alright and never closed, it was just one of those things and had it not been closed, had it been like a 100 credit short, I wouldn’t have cared, but I had a 198.5 I was a point and a half short. So for 30 years I am thinking, they could have just thrown that in. And I went to them about 10 years ago, I said I want to get this, but I don’t want to get a GED, I want to get something real. And they presented this like one year like Inner City Outreach Program and I am like for point and a half, So anyway Tony Todd who had worked with the baseball team for a few years and a dear buddy of mine from high school, he started working the principal, working him and every time there was a story about me contributing to the community pulling some cat out of the burning building that happened, then he would go to the guy and say come on you know the guy, he is helping us out and he is helping the community. And they finally, in pressure they just gave it. They thought it was a good thing and I was going to fly in and be part of the actual ceremony and then some douche bag shot off the college and the whole day went to shit. So I guess I was not supposed to be at the actual ceremony.
Q: Your family comes from Spain?
A: From my dad side, yes. I try to speak Spanish but I’m not to good at it. I still have family in Madrid, an aunt leaves in Atocha. I wish I spoke more Spanish, I’m sure I can learn. I love Spanish food and the latin women.
Q: Yeah , how good therapy is the Anger Management show for you?
A: Thank you, no it’s, I am proud of it, I am proud of how it all came together. I think there was a moment there when me and Mark were laughing about this proving a point is one thing, following through in a hundred episode is another, because most people will get fired and then go across town in the next hour and have a new deal. but then we are going to go and make these hundred shows, two a week. When Selma character was written out it really gave us an opportunity to take a step back and figure out what we want to do in concert with what the people want to see, but there is a prison group on the show, as I am sure you know, and that’s where most of my advice comes from, that I take on into the world. So as much as it looks like my home group might be the different colors or aspects of my own character it’s really those guys in prison, those are the guys that have given me my life’s advice to go out and solve stuff, because we are always talking about them and then in the mid scene I am like well I got a problem and it’s pretty cool, we are using that mechanism to do the episode.
Q: My question is I understand you have a bar in Mexico but the show is keeping you very busy?
A: Oh yeah it’s actually called Sheenz, Sheenz with a Z, yeah.
Q: Yes, so I was wondering why you decided to open this business seeing that you are very, very busy with the show right now?
A: Oh, it was a decision I made before I knew the show was happening. And there is a friend of mine Pablo Sanchez-Navarro who, oh and his family owns Corona, well they did till about recently and they sold it for $22 billion. The hotel is fabulous and we went down there and he said I am doing this boutique deal and he said do you want to have this club and I said yeah, under one condition, that I don’t take a single dollar out of Mexico, because the hotel sponsors a charity every month. I said whatever charity you are doing, have the proceeds from the Sheenz just piggy back into that and help the children and the elderly or people between those two
Q: What’s your secret to sustaining the energy and commitment you need to do a show but then you also made a movie?
A: When we get some time off in between we do a couple of weeks on and couple of weeks off so that’s when you try to find your life for the extra stuff. Its keeping me out of the bars at night, if you believe that. What are my choices? No I don’t want to do this today, don’t want to do it even tomorrow or the next day, it’s going to honoryour commitment. I think this is the “me” model, just to get that straight. I think you got to go through it.
Q: the last time I spoke to you, you said this might be your last show that you wanted to do. Now that you have 100 episodes I wondered do you still mean it?
A: Oh hell yeah even more so, yeah it would be hard to do another TV show after this, at least something I produce for Showtime and something really crazy or fun, but no as far as sitcom it can’t go past this.
Q: So it will be the movie or become another baseball coach?
A: Scout, yeah, I’m a scout, get a scout here, if I am a coach and travel with the team. Yeah I think I would find the right movie, I don’t want to talk about it yet, we will talk about it when we get something really good, really freaking good.
Q: Yeah, how you look back at the business and has it always been or has it been hard for you sometimes to accept and appreciate success?
A: Impossible for me and a lot of other people, because there is no ease into it, there is no like getting indoctrination period, you only hear about it from your friends and then suddenly it’s you are in the middle of it, there is no, it’s really hard to prepare for. And you know anybody that like complained about it, it’s a bitching as it gets, I mean this is the coolest life you can imagine. If you just accept that you have volunteered for this in the first place. You would be like oh it can’t be my house, it can’t be seen, well then stay home, because nobody put a gun to your head and said go make a movie and be famous and then you got to run from that, no, you want to go be in touch with the people and go shake hands, go make kids smile, go make people feel like they matter. I was shunned as a child by ball players and this and that and that’s why I will never say no to a child, late for playing, late for boat, late for something, I am never saying no to a child, because I know how that feels, but yeah you can talk to Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds about hitting a home run and they could tell you everything about it but until you do the stuff, you don’t know how it feels. I used to improve as an actor and watch the whole Brat Pack, get all the free meals and the money and the girls and all that and they sat back and went I am going to eclipse all of you . I sat back and I said that looks like a ton of fun, let me in, they wouldn’t let me in so I found my own way in and I have always said that money can’t buy you happiness, but you can sure as hell pay for the time of your life you know. Yeah, fame is a tricking thing, I have had this amazing career because there has been this weird concept or this weird energy or idea that the business needs me for some reason, whether they are hacking me or celebrating me, they want to keep me around because I keep things a little bit interesting. And I think they need a guy like me to kind of offset the rest of the nonsense to be a little bit honest when others aren’t and just yeah I am having a great time, what’s wrong with that? You know I don’t put in people’s faces or make people feel less than, I just march to a slightly different beat that most people can’t hear. But I am having a ball and I don’t want my whole life to be about my work. I want to be out being a father and being a friend and a son and a brother and all that stuff and just leaving something behind that isn’t just about fiction you know.
Q: Why are you credited as an Estevez in Machete Kills?
A: Because I am one of the final credit and Charlie Sheen as the President and that was already given to Mel Gibson and I thought he has got a couple of Oscars he wins, plus I like Mel a lot, he is a terrific guy, when he is not drinking and driving but sorry Mel. But so I couldn’t get the last credit since it’s a Rob Rodriguez film let’s go with this whole Latin thing and that’s where we went, and introducing Carlos Estevez as the President, of course the media is like he changed his name oh my god, but yes, that was pretty cool I think you will enjoy the film too.
(c) America Reads Spanish